What carbon taxes mean for the wine industry
Monday 6 February
Carbon taxes will be imposed on the biggest Australian companies in July 2012. Large emittors will have to pay $23 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted. But what does this mean for the wine industry?
It’s unlikely to make a massive impact immediately, as the majority of companies that will have to pay the tax are energy and mining companies, for example. However, electricity prices are likely to rise as the new tax is passed on by those companies affected by the new legislation. Airfare travel will also increase, with Qantas announcing it would impose fare increases.
Karl Forsyth, senior engineer for the Australian Wine and Research Institute told delegates at the International Cool Climate Symposium, “The government has a carbon cap and they will continually lower that bar, and there may come a point when smaller companies are included.”
With increasing scrutiny on carbon emission coming from the top down, grape growers and wine producers are advised to start making changes if they have not already done so.
The first change for wineries is to improve the efficiency of cooling systems or move to electrodialysis, which can cold stabilise the wine without the need for refrigeration. Without cold stabilisation, tartrates will precipitate out and look like crystals in the wine, so it’s an aesthetic measure but necessary for consumer acceptance.
“”If you move toward electrodialysis or different cold stabilisation techniques, 10% of a wineries emissions could be saved potentially,” said Forsyth
In the vineyard, the addition of nitrogen fertiliser is the only direct source of greenhouse gas emissions. The ‘nitrification’ process turns nitrogen fertiliser into nitrous oxide.
Forsyth added: “It’s not clear how much nitrous oxide is produced in the vineyard so we are trying to work on that by trialling inhibitors of nitrification”
For more information, go to the www.awri.com.au website.